ing the key aspects of production,
designers can expose provenance
to enable reflective inquiry.
A second genre of tools focuses
on attrition and decay. In Zoran
and Buechley’s digital restoration
[ 7], handmade pottery that has
broken is then “restored” using a
3-D printer. The printer accentuates the broken edges by reassembling and transforming the object
remains. Here digital production
incorporates new materials and
techniques while foregrounding the engagements (breakage
and wear) that led to the object’s
current state. The object evolves
through rearranging traces of use
and, in turn, ideas of provenance.
Alongside delineations of use and
skill, a third genre of tools involves
sharing experiences of creation
and ownership. Our Spyn system
[ 8], for example, enables knitters
to digitally annotate stitches while
crafting, associating audio and
visual recordings with locations on
knit fabric. In trial deployments,
knitters connected fabric with
personal reflections at the time
of production. By recalling these
annotations, recipients of the knit
articles became aware of the knitters’ investments of effort and care.
Such tools might enrich production work by capturing provenance
through digital media, connecting
intimate object interactions with
processes of exchange and use.
Each genre of tools traces the
use, technique, and ownership of
artifacts in particular ways. They
suggest paths for valuing processes
of creation and trajectories of use
that enable us to consider which
elements of an artifact should
remain stable over time and which
materials, digital and non-digital,
matter in the ongoing production
of value. They provide a starting
point for considering how we might
design evocative traces of provenance.
Beyond handwork, this work
suggests that designers can benefit from becoming sensitive to
both the practical and affective
dimensions of skill. What makes
an artifact meaningful is bound
up with how its traces are made,
remade, and interpreted over time.
In illustrating how materials figure
into these handwork processes, I
hope to encourage the design of
technologies that meaningfully
engage the expressivity of material
histories [ 9].
1. Joyce, r. From place to place: provenience,
provenance, and archaeology. Unpublished paper
from the theoretical Archeology Meeting in Los
2. Ingold, t. transformations of the line: traces,
threads and surfaces. Textile: The Journal of Cloth
and Culture 8, 1 (2010), 10–35.
3. Here the term provenance is taken to mean the
itinerary that something follows in order to reach its
current condition, beginning with its creation [ 1].
4. participant names have been changed.
5. For a counter example, see Grossman, t.,
Matejka, J., and Fitzmaurice, G. chronicle: capture,
exploration, and playback of document workflow
histories. Proc. of the 23rd Annual ACM Symposium
on User Interface Software and Technology. AcM,
New York, 2010, 143–152.
6. pierce, J. and paulos, E. Materializing energy.
Proc. of the 8th ACM Conference on Designing
Interactive Systems. AcM, New York, 2010, 113–122.
7. Zoran, A. and buechley, L. Hybrid reAssemblage:
A voyage of loss and acceptance through craft and
digital fabrication. 2011. In press.
8. rosner, D.K., and. ryokai, K. Spyn: Augmenting
the creative and communicative potential of craft.
Proc. of the 28th International Conference on Human
Factors in Computing Systems. AcM, New York,
9. Mccullough, M. Abstracting Craft: The Practiced
Digital Hand. MIt press, cambridge, MA, 1998.
About the Author
Daniela K. rosner is a ph. D. can-didate at Uc berkeley’s School of
Information. Her research focuses
on the interplay between comput-ing, craft, and the creative com-munities that surround them.
September + October 2011
• Mike in his studio.
© 2011 AcM 1072-5220/11/09 $10.00